Thursday, December 02, 2010

I Repent

Thanks to Jim Peet and Phil Johnson, I've learned that I've affirmed, possibly formally and unquestionably by my silence, a Roman Catholic theology of the Mass. Now, I certainly didn't mean to, but all the same I feel compelled to express, formally and publicly, my repentance. As we all know, ignorance and good intentions are no excuse. And I'm particularly embarrassed and dismayed that I acted as an unwitting pawn in an ongoing campaign against John MacArthur.

It all started when I traveled with J--- C------ in his Toyota pickup with a sweet fiberglass cap from Wisconsin to the 1999 World Congress of Fundamentalists in Greenville, South Carolina. (Actually, he picked me up in Ohio, as I now remember.) Anyway, I offer as evidence of this trip a photo of a Congress mug, taken this morning in our kitchen. (The kitchen I share with my wife, not J---.)

Johnson quotes a resolution passed at the 1986 Congress, which affirmed the (at best) extra-biblical notion that:
The precious Blood is indestructible. It cannot be anything else because of its permanence. The Blood is eternally preserved in Heaven.
But worse, it:
Rejects every attempt either to deny the literalness of the Blood or to minimize its efficacy and the necessity of its shedding in Christ's death on the cross. Such denial is a dangerous and devilish deception.
As Johnson points out, that assertion demands a Roman Catholic interpretation of John 6:54-56—one which I'm now informed enough to repudiate.

Looking back, I'm not exactly sure what happened. I do remember that Congress being a bit of an eye-opener for both J--- and me in various ways, but I assume that we both affirmed all the resolutions, including the one that reaffirmed all the resolutions adopted at previous Congresses. Including the 1986 Congress. And therein lies my guilt. I'm not sure what I should have done. I could have done several things: Vote no. Speak up. Walk out. At the very least, separate from all the people who identified with this false doctrine, as any good fundamentalist would have done.

But. I. Didn't. And I'll always have to live with that.

Yet, I now repent.


Bruce said...

I expect a follow-up post with video of you smashing the mug.

Ben said...

But it's such a nice conversation piece.

Anonymous said...

That was a sweet truck. Maybe sell the mug and donate the proceeds to GTY.

Steve Johns

Jim Peet said...

I'm honored!

This and being mentioned by Lou M here are my 15 seconds of cyber-fame!


d4v34x said...

Don't know what to do? It's called penance, yo!

Sad to think that this whole thing could have been avoided if fundamentalists understood the concept of metonymy better.

However, your second snippet there doesn't seem as problematic as the first. Am I missing something?

d4v34x said...

Sorry, didn't read far enough into Phil's article. I think he's giving a little of what MacArthur got at that point. 1) Not to defend the resolution per se, but one could read their insistence on the literality of the blood only in reference to need for it to have been literally shed. 2) You and I and Phil all take the body and blood (at least somewhat)literally in John 6. It's the eating and drinking we don't take literally. No?

Jim Peet said...

I was a much less mature Christian back then and a relatively new Pastor.

I had such respect for Bob Jones that I was initially caught up in the anti-MacArthur hysteria at the time. Complicating things for me is that I often quoted John Mac in my sermons and our church had a strong group of BJU grads in the church.

It took some real time to sort through all of that.

Unfortunately, BJ has never really come clean on this issue. Not sure why.

Jeff said...

Well Ben, miracles do happen. I, for one, am glad you have finally come clean! Soooooooooo my only question is this, what about the myriad of other stupid, immature, naive, ignorant but well-meaning things you did, five, ten, fifteen years ago. When are you going to repent of all of those sins?

And what took you so long with this one?

I guess the question is, why did you feel the need to "repent" publicly of something few knew you did more than a decade ago?

Frankly, did you repent or are you just grandstanding?


Ben said...


I think one could do that. But then, if the folks behind the resolution had demonstrated in the first place a pattern of reading words in the most charitable way possible, the resolution never would have been written, Phil wouldn't have written his post, and . . . well, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Ben said...

Jeff, I did. At least I think. I hope. As for this one, I didn't realize I'd affirmed the '86 resolution until just recently. As for grandstanding, perhaps that's one of those things that's more "caught" than "taught." After all, it's not what you teach, it's what you tolerate. Hmmm . . .

Joshua Caucutt said...

The worst part of the whole thing is that I sold that truck. I should have never gotten rid of it . . . It still completely cracks me up that we went to that conference.

Ben said...

Did you sell the truck to buy the two Geo Metros, or did you have all three at the same time?

Maybe back then we were true believers. Maybe that Congress started to open our eyes a bit.

Joshua Caucutt said...

I didn't know it then, but that conference was the start of my journey out of fundamentalism . . . well at least the type represented by that conference.

I remember a bit of particularly bad exegesis where fundamentalists were challenged to join the prophet Samuel, err, other fundamentalists, in anointing David, err, Christ "in the new millenium". We turned to each other and pretty much said, "What in the world was that?". Then we tried not to laugh when the guy two seats over said, "now that's preaching!"

But no one else seemed to have a problem with the interpretation of I Samuel. Furthermore, no one had a problem with the paedobaptist who spoke in the next session. . . Why would we make a big deal about a Roman Cathlolic application of the blood of Christ? We were too busy fitting 16 "power's" into that reverent hymn, "Power in the Blood".

Ben said...

YES! That memory is so fresh and clear. As is a little jaunt to Ecclesiastes. Of course, the fact the words of Ed Williams and Carson's "Exegetical Fallacies" were ringing so freshly in my mind may have helped the whole experience crystallize some things..

Joshua Caucutt said...

no doubt, no doubt.

I almost laugh when I think about that trip. Part of my attendance there was an attempt to "climb the fundamentalist" ladder. What a joke!

Has this supposed "congress" been convened since?